Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State ex rel. Thomas v. Gaul

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

December 6, 2019

STATE EX REL. ROBERT L. THOMAS, Relator,
v.
DANIEL GAUL, JUDGE, Respondent.

          Writ of Mandamus Motion No. 533014 Order No. 533804

          Robert L. Thomas, pro se, relator.

          Michael C. O'Malley, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney, and James E. Moss, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for respondent.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          MARY J. BOYLE, P.J.

         {¶ 1} Relator, Robert L. Thomas, seeks a writ of mandamus directing respondent, Judge Daniel Gaul, to vacate Thomas's convictions in State v. Thomas, Cuyahoga C.P. No. CR-13-579375-A. Respondent's motion for summary judgment is granted, and Thomas's request for writ of mandamus is denied.

         I. Background

         {¶ 2} On October 4, 2019, Thomas filed a complaint for a writ of mandamus. According to the complaint, he was charged with several counts of rape, kidnapping, and disseminating matter harmful to juveniles in State v. Thomas, Cuyahoga C.P. No. CR-13-571292. That case was later dismissed without prejudice during the pretrial phase. Thomas was indicted in CR-13-579375-A and charged with substantially similar crimes based on the same factual allegations as the previously dismissed case. Thomas was found guilty of numerous charges and received two consecutive prison sentences of 25 years to life.

         {¶ 3} Thomas claims that the dismissal of CR-13-571292 was premised on the denial of his right to a speedy trial under R.C. 2945.72. However, the journal entry dismissing this case, attached to Thomas's complaint, provides that this case was dismissed without prejudice pursuant to a motion by the prosecutor. The journal entry does not dismiss the case with prejudice or mention speedy trial. Thomas goes on to assert that double jeopardy and collateral estoppel prevent his reindictment and conviction in CR-13-579375-A. Finally, Thomas argues that he is entitled to relief in mandamus because the judgment of conviction in CR-13-579375-A is void and he possesses no adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law to address the void judgment. He claims his judgment of conviction is a void judgment that is not a final, appealable order capable of invoking appellate review.

         {¶ 4} Respondent filed a motion for summary judgment on October 22, 2019, to which Thomas filed an untimely response. There, respondent asserted that relief in mandamus was precluded because mandamus is not an appropriate means to address speedy trial or double jeopardy claims, and Thomas has or had an adequate remedy of law by way of appeal; which he in fact exercised by filing two prior appeals.

         II. Summary Judgment

         {¶ 5} The matter is before the court on respondent's motion for summary judgment. "'Summary judgment is appropriate when an examination of all relevant materials filed in the action reveals that "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."'" State ex rel Parker v. Russo, Slip Opinion No. 2019-Ohio-4420, ¶ 5, quoting Smith v. McBride, 130 Ohio St.3d 51, 2011-Ohio-4674, 955 N.E.2d 954, ¶ 12, quoting Civ.R. 56(C).

         III. Request to Vacate a Void Judgment of Conviction

         {¶ 6} Entitlement to relief in mandamus is only appropriate where: (1) the relator shows that they have a clear legal right to the requested relief, (2) the respondent has a clear legal duty to perform the requested relief, and (3) there is no adequate remedy at law. State ex rel Ney v. Niehaus, 33 Ohio St.3d 118, 515 N.E.2d 914 (1987). Outside of limited exception not applicable here, if the relator possesses an adequate remedy at law, whether used or not, relief in mandamus is unavailable. State ex rel Kerns v. Simmers, 153 Ohio St.3d 103, 2018-Ohio-256, 101 N.E.3d 430.

         {¶ 7} First, Thomas's action ultimately seeks release from prison through the vacation of his convictions and sentences - something that may be accomplished through habeas corpus, not mandamus. State ex rel Lemmon v. Ohio Adult Parole Auth.,78 Ohio St.3d 186, 677 N.E.2d 347 (1997); State ex rel Elko v. Suster, 110 Ohio St.3d ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.